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Solutions sought in rectifying traffic backups in Meredith

MEREDITH — There is hope, once again, for a solution to the downtown Meredith traffic problem that often results in backups on both sides of the downtown intersection for miles.

On Thursday, a committee set up earlier this year by the selectmen to study the problem at the intersection of routes 3 and 25 will meet with state Department of Transportation officials in hopes of selecting one of several solutions proposed for the problem, which has been studied for more than a decade by state and local officials without a solution.

Lou Kahn, a selectman and a member of the committee, said the best solution may be a proposed two-lane bridge that would create a bypass for eastbound traffic that would circumvent the present stop-light intersection.

“If the DOT people agree, that proposal is a distinct possibility,” Kahn said. “In any case, I’m hopeful we can come to some solution on Thursday.”

Traffic flows through Meredith have been slowed by the intersection for decades. Now, when eastbound traffic headed for Center Harbor, Moultonborough, Ossipee and other towns is forced through Meredith in a single lane that turns at the traffic light, making entering the town on a busy summer weekend difficult.

On Sunday nights, traffic leaving the area headed west — much of it from summer residents heading home after the weekend — comes into the town in one lane and briefly splits into two lanes downtown, and then forms again into a single lane.

“On a bad Sunday night, cars can back up into Center Harbor,” Kahn said.

There have been proposals in the past that proved unworkable. Among the proposals currently being considered are a two-lane roundabout to replace the intersection, better traffic lights, and a proposal for a three-lane bridge leaving Route 25 on the west side and re-entering the traffic on Route 3 just east of the intersection.

That proposal would cost at least $6.5 million, town officials said.
State officials have informed the town that they have a $5 million grant to help pay for the cost of a solution. If a solution is agreed upon, the work could be done by 2017, state officials said.

A better, cheaper proposal may be a two-lane bridge, Kahn said.

“They have a federal grant for $5 million. A two-lane bridge might be more feasible,” he said. “We’ll see what everyone thinks at the meeting.”

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Community Center.

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